Monday, March 21, 2011

Ralph Atkinson - Blue Valentine

Hear The Track Here

I was in a virtual world the other day and got caught up in the mother of all arguments about what really counted about musicians online. One the one hand were the 'young but energetic' kind and on the other - damn how can I put this? - musicians of a certain age. Bunch of geriatric bed blockers, the young and energetic loudly proclaimed, to a chorus of whiny wheezes from the so-called bed blockers. Most modern music is rubbish, the elder camp declaims with vindictive spite, especially the newer internet bands. Yeah and most older music is boring, merely going over the tricks these old dogs learnt back in their day.

Both, of course, have some cause for complaint, but only because we all need something to bitch and moan about. As someone who reviews all sides of the spectrum, I'd say there was plenty of room for all of us. Of course, being an an accredited Old Fart I am bound to trot out the phrase 'but with age comes experience' but - to be blunt - that isn't always the case. Sure we old 'uns may know enough to know what sounds right and what doesn't, but that isn't what makes the music popular. That comes through the idea/plan/road to Damascus moment that conceives the track, regardless of age, temperament, skin or eye colour.

One of those musicians of a certain age who is showing a very clean pair of heels to all and sundry is Canadian songwriter and guitarist Ralph Atkinson whose meek and mild exterior (in his pic) is no indication of the fire and energy of his musical world, It may indeed sound very familiar, but Ralph stamps his own style on every track, gaining him a few Must Haves into the bargain. My preferred Atkinson mode is the blues, which is what first caught my attention about him. Hardest thing about the blues is to make it sound real, ask any bluesman worth their salt. It isn't just a sound or a style, it's an attitude and you've either got it or you haven't. Ralph has it d-o-w-n, even though IMHO Blue Valentine stretches the genre a tad. What it is are a combination of instrumental set pieces (piano, lead, strings0 that shouldn't work together but bond like superglue. Emotion? Drenched in it.

MUST HAVE blues instrumental.

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